Rose Ariadne's Chitchcraft Blog

Dear Friends,

Before you get confused by the title, just know that I’m not talking about renting out the nearby playhouse and putting on a show. I’m referring to the dramatic act of the ritual and why it is so important. Some criticisms of paganism that I have read have pointed out that it’s reliance on rituals and the “theatrical” aspects of the faith as evidence of it’s fallacy and absurdity. To those critics, I point to the Catholic mass – just as theatrical as a Beltane festival, if not more. To top it off, there are so many correlations between both types of rituals that it’s sometimes hard to remember which came first.

Ritual is theater, and there’s a good reason for blending the two. The Greeks used theater enactments of the lives of the Gods to teach their religion to the masses. Years later, the medieval churches of Europe did the same to purport Christian theology. There is great power in ritual. Just like a theatrical drama, it transports you to a different place and time.

Ritual is an important part of this path, and if you feel like you can be a part of this religion without ritual, I’ve got news for you. You can’t. I’m all for individual expression of a religion. But trying to be a pagan without ritual is like trying to swim without water. Ritual is who we are and what we do.

A lot of newcomers to this path wonder how ritual is important and how rigid it needs to be. Do you really need to have all the items on a ritual list to make your magick work? Does the Goddess get offended if you don’t have a silver candle? Is it not worth doing unless you have the specific tools? Well, yes and no.

I say yes because I know the important impact that ritual has had in my life. By raising energy with my circle or by myself in a ritual fashion, I know that the magick I create in my life has real lasting power. Taking part in the ritual full board, with all of the bells and whistles, creates a shift in the mind of the practitioner. Doing a ritual in full ceremonial dress and having all of your supplies at hand is important to the magick and energy that you’ll create during that time.

It’s not that the ceremonial garb makes the magick per se, but it certainly does help. It helps you get in the right frame of mind so that you can create the energy that you need to complete your magick. This is where the “no” of my yes and no answer comes into play. As seasoned witch has enough magickal power built up within him or herself so that they could cast a spell without a single tool. But most are so comfortable with using the tools that they continue to do so.

Tools are symbols in ritual, just like props in a play. They aren’t really the things they pretend to be. But you give them energy as if they were. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you buy a cauldron blessed by some High Priestess somewhere, or use a tupperware container that you have handy. If you treat both in the same way, the magick will be the same.

But as humans, we have a hard time believing in things that we can’t see. The props in our rituals help us to visualize the energy that we are creating, as well as symbolize the different aspects of the ritual. It’s because of this that formal rituals continue to be an important part of witchcraft.

In essence, when you’re performing a ritual you are performing a play that honors God and Goddess. You are saying to them “Look….I am stepping out of my normal mundane life to honor you. This is important to me.” All of the ceremonies, rituals and spells that are a part of paganism were created by someone like yourself who wanted to tap into the great energy of the Universe and use it to manifest change. They carefully selected the actions, altar decorations, clothes worn, colors used and every other little detail to create a specific mood, message or meaning. In many ways, it’s just like writing a play. Expert ritual writers will consistently revise their rituals and spells to make them more refined and powerful.

So the next time you’re getting ready to do a little ritual, think about the outer trapping of the ritual as your tools to touch the divine. They may seem a little silly at first, but that’s only because they are outside of the experience that you are used to having in the mundane world. For those of us who walk this path, they’ve become important symbols of what magick is. A little theater never hurt anyone.

Brightest Blessings,

Rose Ariadne, Your Warm And Caring “Resident Witch In Charge”

Posted by Rose Comment 1

1 Comment

  1. Bruce says

    Couldn’t agree more..Even as a non-believer, I recognise the importance of ritual as a sacred value.

    September 5th, 2008 | #

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